mac and cheese and Andrea
(originally posted 2/6/2019)
Andrea looked at the bottom of the Tupperware and saw a lone macaroni still clinging to the bottom. She had already placed the bowl of mac and cheese in the microwave to heat up but she immediately stopped it and took it out.
She took off the plastic wrap and was about to throw in the solo piece of macaroni and return the whole shebang to the microwave when she paused to examine her motivations for the last minute of her lunch preparations.
Why did it matter so much to her that this single piece of macaroni join its comrades in the bowl? Because it clearly did. She had expended both time and energy to the endeavor of bringing them back together for one last ride. Why had she hummed Don’t You (Forget About Me) when she was doing it?
She had always been one to attach human characteristics to animals but in the last few years it had started to bleed into the non-sentient world as well.
How did that piece of macaroni feel when it saw all of its friends being scraped into the bowl to be heated and consumed, only to be left behind?
At first she imagined it might have felt a profound sense of relief but upon further consideration she realized that being heated and consumed was its purpose. Its destiny.
Giving dogs and cats human emotions is common enough but when you start feeling bad for macaroni or statues or lint then maybe it’s time to sit down with somebody and sort some things out.
That was the advice her last boyfriend had given her. They had eventually broken up because he refused to get an oil change and she happened to be a passenger when his car’s engine finally seized up and died on the side of the road.
She could never forgive him. She could still hear the tortured sound it made before it finally spluttered to a stop. She cried when the tow truck took it away.
“Indians thought there were spirits inhabiting inanimate objects” she would tell her parents as a defense to refusing to throw away any of her childhood dolls.
“Yeah, and they’re doing great” he dad would counter before returning to reading the paper.
She held the Tupperware container and felt the smooth bottom and then the edges. Tupperware was named after its creator Earl Silas Tupper. How could anyone not see that every piece of Tupperware was like a piece of him?
She placed the lone macaroni in with its pasta brethren and reached for the Saran Wrap to cover them all up. It was a bit wrinkled but she would never get a new piece. It wouldn’t be fair to the old piece. It had started the journey and she was damn sure it was going to finish it. After all, John Reilly, the inventor of Sara Wrap, had named it after a combination of Sarah and Ann, the names of his wife and daughter. Despite the fact he worked for Dow Chemical at the time, and Andrea usually thought of chemists who worked at such companies as heartless monsters, this John Reilly character must have truly been an exception. How could she not suffer a serious bout of anthropomorphism once she knew the truth about Saran Wrap?
And macaroni and cheese? She wasn’t sure but she thinks she’d heard somewhere that the inventor had named it after his two sons… Mac and… Cheese.
As she placed the bowl in the microwave she could have sworn she saw the piece of macaroni lift its little arm up like Judd Nelson at the end of The Breakfast Club.
For a moment she wondered why she didn’t think of that piece as two separate organisms, the mac and the cheese, enjoying a commensalistic relationship. Each with their own values and customs. She wrestled with this option until the ding of the microwave brought the raging internal debate to a close.
“Nope” she thought to herself, “It’s like a sperm and egg scenario. They come together to make mac and cheese. Something bigger than themselves. Something beautiful.”
With that settled she pulled off the plastic wrap covering the bowl to let it cool. As she waited she whispered “Time to go on a John Bender” and thrust up her fist into the air and held the pose.
Minutes passed, the mac and cheese cooled, then got cold, and still she held the pose.
No credits rolled.
That’s how they found her the next day.